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Sweden drops 7-year rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Sweden is dropping its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on rape allegations, according to a prosecution statement released Friday.

Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, seeking to avoid an arrest warrant on the allegations in Sweden. He has always denied wrongdoing.

Assange, an Australian national, has previously said that he’s afraid that if he leaves the embassy, he could end up being extradited and facing the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing government secrets through his site, WikiLeaks.

US authorities have prepared charges to seek his arrest, US officials familiar with the matter told CNN last month.

Assange tweeted an image of himself smiling shortly after the Swedish prosecution statement was released but has not yet made any other comment.